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How NGOs React: Globalization and Education Reform in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia

Iveta Silova and Gita Steiner-Khamsi
How NGOs React: Globalization and Education Reform in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia
ISBN: 978-1-56549-257-8
2008/303 pages/LC: 2007043514
A Kumarian Press Book

"Offers rare insights into education and culture in countries that have been at the periphery of global scholarship. Its brave challenge to the post-colonial scholars, development experts, and local elites to take global justice seriously is inspiring."—Curriculum Inquiry


How NGOs React follows the Soros Foundation's educational reform programs in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia and raises larger questions about the role of NGOs in a centralist government, relationships NGOs have with international donors and development banks, and strategies NGOs use to interpret global reforms locally.

The authors, all former or current educational experts of the Soros Foundation, analyze "the post-socialist reform package" at the country-level, highlighting the common features such as decentralization, privatization, vouchers and liberalization of the textbook publishing market. They look at the global reforms and their variations as they were transferred to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan over the past decade.

A unique combination of perspectives from Western as well as Eastern scholars based in the region makes this collection an essential retrospective on key processes involved in transforming educational systems since the collapse of the socialist bloc.


Iveta Silova is an associate professor of transcultural, comparative, and international education at Lehigh University. Gita Steiner-Khamsi is professor of comparative and international education at Teachers College, Columbia University.


  • Introduction: Unwrapping the Post-Socialist Education Reform Package—the Editors.
  • Championing Open Society: The Education Logic of the Soros Foundation Network—I. Silova.
  • The Parallel Worlds of NGOs, Multilateral Aid, and Development Banks: The Case of Community Schools in Armenia—A. Tadevosyan.
  • The Free market in Textbook Publishing: Visions and Realities in Azerbaijan—E. Kazimzade.
  • On Being Fast: The Meaning of Education Decentralization Reform in Georgia—A. Matiashvili.
  • From Educational Brokers to Local Capacity Builders: Redefining International NGOs in Kazakhstan—S. Kalikova and I. Silova.
  • A Voucher System for Teacher Training in Kyrgyzstan—A. Ivanov and V. Deichman.
  • Circulating "Best Practices" in Mongolia—N. Enkhtuya.
  • The Latecomer Syndrome: Beyond Project Implementation toward an Education Policy Think Tank in Tajikistan—T. Abdushukurova.
  • Invisible and Surrogate Education: Filling Educational Gaps in Turkmenistan—E. Dailey and I. Silova.
  • Quotas for Quotes: Mainstreaming Open Society Values in Uzbekistan—J. Ashrafi.
  • Conclusion: Centralist and Donor-Dependent Governments: What’s Left for NGOs to Do—G. Steiner-Khamsi.